January 2, 2016

Southwestern Turkey Skillet

It's always a struggle finding healthy recipes that actually have substance and flavor, especially when you're already about to give up on your new year's resolutions. That's why I love this recipe, which is full of lean protein from the turkey and packed with vegetables. A variety of spices and spicy things don't hurt, either. It's healthy, creative, and is as far from bland as you can get. The combination of fresh and canned vegetables stretch the turkey to an unexpectedly large number of portions, which means you can make a batch and eat it all week. The mix of vegetables also allows you to make this dish all year, since you can always find onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, and decent tomatoes.

I chose turkey because it is one of the leanest meats you can find and it suits this flavor profile well. You can easily use ground chicken, beef, or pork, and substituting sausage for some of the meat would add even more flavor. Of course, that also adds more fat, but a little chorizo won't kill your resolutions entirely. I cook the meat with the spices because it soaks them up best at this point.

I start cooking the vegetables in whatever drippings are left, though don't expect much if you use plain ground turkey. The onions and bell peppers are cooked first with some garlic and some more spices. The sweet potatoes go in next; they need to be diced small enough to cook quickly so the turkey doesn't dry out later. After they are almost tender, I add diced tomatoes (fresh is best but canned can work in a pinch), black beans, corn, and more spices.

After all the vegetables are cooked, I combine them with the turkey, cheese, and even more spices. The mixture is piled into a skillet, covered with more spices if you so desire, and cooked until everything is tender and bubbly and delicious. Heap it on a plate by itself or with some rice or other healthy starch and you have a hearty meal and plenty of leftovers to celebrate the new year.

1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Yellow Onion, Diced
2 Bell Peppers, Diced
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled & Diced
3 Plum Tomatoes, Diced
1 Can Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed
1 Can Corn, Drained
8 oz Pepperjack Cheese, Shredded
2 T Garlic Powder
2 T Onion Powder
2 T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
1 T Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Oregano

Whisk the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and oregano together.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Add the turkey and 2 tsp spice mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Cook the onions, peppers, garlic, and 1 tsp spices in the turkey drippings until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the sweet potatoes and 1 tsp spices and cook over medium-low heat until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, black beans, corn, 2 tsp spices, and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 350F.

Combine the turkey, vegetables, cheese, and 1 tsp spices. Transfer back into the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 8-10

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